While Garry Kasparov was in Georgia he gave an interview which extratime.az claim is the first to the Azerbaijan media in 20 years. It was one of the first public statements after the news that Kasparov had stopped training Carlsen provoked much speculation.
Originally posted here.
He has some warm words about [ctrl+v], sorry Azmaiparashvili, who was his second for three world championship matches. He comments on the general strength of chess in the Caucasus. Asked about the chances of the young Azerbaijan players he says that Radjabov, Gashimov and Mamedyarov are all top 10 players, but that none of them has real championship potential.
Then he answers a lot of questions on Carlsen. He again says that Carlsen’s vision and play is comparable to Karpov, and the opposite of Tal, Alekhine and himself.
A couple of fragments:
Magnus’ main problems were in positions where everything was beginning to “hang” and with directed opening preparation, exactly those areas where I was strongest.
I repeat, it’s not worth looking for complicated conspiracy theories, even if that’s quite a natural human reaction. I found it interesting. I repeat, our cooperation has now been reduced to a minimum because Magnus is beginning to do everything independently. He has a basis [perhaps database], he’s learned a lot – he’s learned the correct approach to working on openings. In any case it’s clear that our cooperation was going to be for a limited time and couldn’t continue indefinitely. But I’m ready to help out where necessary. For me, the arrival at the top in chess of a Western player who can be compared to Fischer is, in the current situation, a very important step towards attracting potential sponsors. But again, that wasn’t my main aim. It seemed to me that I could assist in bringing about changes that were essential for chess. But the main thing was my own creative satisfaction. In the end I love chess, that love hasn’t gone away and it was with great pleasure that I shared in Magnus’ progress over the last year.
He’s asked about media reports that he might be supporting Karpov for FIDE president, as the lesser of two evils, and responds:
I don’t think that in the current situation it’s a choice of the lesser of two evils – in general that’s not the kind of choice I like to make. For me, chess now finds itself in a disastrous situation because the path it’s taken has led to a dead end. When I played Karpov we played in Moscow, New York, Paris, London, Barcelona, Seville… you can continue the list yourself. Now we have – Nalchik, Astrakhan, Khanty-Minsk, Elista… Such a situation strikes me as a total dead end and escaping from it without changing the chess leadership is impossible. […]
Although the history of my relations with Karpov is, to put it diplomatically, contradictory, my sympathies and perhaps, in some variations, my assistance will be on his side.
He’s asked about standing for FIDE president himself and sounds susceptible (“I hope that if I have the chance to offer direct help to chess then I won’t shy away from it”). But he says that at the moment his involvement would make things too politicised.
Asked about Carlsen’s chances to dominate at the top as he did he says the competition in all sports has increased dramatically and:
In principle, if you take Magnus Carlsen, then he has the potential to be at the top for a long time. But this “long time” today means a much shorter span than the periods of domination in the past, if you talk about Botvinnik, Karpov or myself. Today if you can even for a few years, say five, be on top of the list of the planet’s strongest chess players then it’s a very great achievement for any player.